Sometimes, you run out of words. Describing RIOC’s heartless and thick-headed Motorgate rate increases backs us against the wall in frustration. Already grossly incompetent, management under Governor Kathy Hochul and CEO Seldom Seen Shelton J. Haynes, the state agency now adds heartlessness to its luster.
How can we keep up the daily flow of blunders? Fortunately, we got some help. From RIOC.
by David Stone
As we reported in January, RIOC burdened Motorgate users with handicapped designations with first-ever fees. It was without notice, although the state agency that never makes a mistake claims otherwise. (They have to really because, well… you know, they never make a mistake.)
Now belatedly and under pressure, Team Hochul/Haynes released a statement that attempts an explanation for across-the-board increases. It’s flawed, of course, with false claims, awkward rationales and a toady-style kiss for Haynes.
The Motorgate Rate Increases in RIOC-Speak
“It is important to note that the decision to make increases was not made lightly. Critical infrastructure improvements have been made in the sum of a $20M investment to the Motorgate Parking Garage. With the rise of operating costs, upcoming projects, and worldwide inflation, RIOC has decided to raise its parking rates for the first time in over ten years.” (Bold is theirs.)
That’s RIOC’s opening salvo of defense. It’s a mouthful because it’s also not quite honest, although it fits well with the rest of their defective story.
Out of the gate, all three contributing factors are generalized buzzwords lacking any context or detail. We can’t determine how any of it affects RIOC costs or even if it does at all. Suspicion arises that RIOC has no idea either but saw a chance to rake in more revenue.
Residents had no say in the matter. It was never presented for consideration. A decision was simply made by Team Hochul/Haynes to do it. Without prior notice.
The Hammer of Fairness
“…we observed discrepancies among the rates for certain Island community members. The senior citizen rate is a total of $125. In the spirit of fairness, RIOC matched the senior citizen monthly parking rate to the disability/handicap category.“
Who called for this? No one to our knowledge ever complained about any unfairness in allowing free parking for disabled permit holders. But RIOC uses it in pitting one disadvantaged group against the other.
And justifies it while penalizing a voiceless group with first-ever costs.
A major value in Roosevelt Island’s founding was respect for the special needs of people with disabilities. FDR himself struggled with a severe handicap for most of his life. The community was one of the first in the world featuring a barrier-free design. That’s been lost. The elderly as well as the physically challenged can barely cross Main Street safely after PSD abandoned crosswalk protections.
Probably the worst of RIOC’s greed and heartlessness is that they sprung the sudden charges on disabled parking permits without any notice. They just showed up on monthly emailed bills.
Dishonesty Mingled with Heartlessness
In its belated announcement of Motorgate price increases, Team Hochul/Haynes kept using bolding for emphasis. Thus, the geniuses call attention to their worst piece of bad information yet:
“It should be noted that the average monthly parking permit in New York City is $570, nearly 360% more than what our seniors and handicapped population pay.“
Hey, that’s true. But it’s irrelevant.
Mixed in with the numbers are $1,000 plus rates for the Upper West and East Sides where conditions are completely different. And even in those costly areas, some lots charge as little as $400 per month.
In fact, not a single neighborhood in the city is without at least one lot with a $500 rate. Within most, drivers can find much lower. In Queens where conditions more closely resemble Roosevelt Island, rates range from $100 to $300 monthly.
A search of nearby parking in Queens, the only borough accessible from Roosevelt Island by car, reveals monthly parking rates from $250 to $350 for monthly parkers.
It may not be outright lying, but it falls short of ethical honesty by a large margin.
About the Rest of the Mess in the Motorgate Parking Increases
Assuming Team Hochul/Haynes really used the flawed $507 average rate – it’s a stretch – and didn’t just find it in an internet search as an afterthought, there’s one glaring error.
The state agency that never makes a mistake charges “Non-Resident” monthly parkers $350. Why the discount? This undermines mass transit at Roosevelt Islanders’ expense.
Many non-resident parkers avoid the price of Manhattan parking by leaving their cars at the discount rate in Motorgate before hopping on a free Red Bus to the subway. Charging the standard rate would alone cover the costs being drawn out of disabled parking charges.
But We Saved the Best of the RIOC Abuse for Last
As a benefit of working for the perfect state agency, all employees get free parking in Motorgate. Dear Leader Seldom Seen Shelton Haynes even gets free Main Street spots for himself and friends, allowing him restricted public exposure as he scurries to and from his bunker in Blackwell House.